I hope you have already read my previous post Why should I get Ground Instructor Certificate along with CFI Certificate. If you have not, do so now, and then come back and read this post.

Privileges of a Ground Instructor Certificate

The certification of a Ground Instructor is governed by 14 CFR 61.215. There are 3 ratings you can have on a Ground Instructor certificate;

  1. Basic – Basic Ground Instructor or BGI authorizes the certificate holder to teach the ground school or aeronautical portion of a sport pilot, recreational pilot and a private pilot course.
  2. Advanced – Advanced Ground Instructor or AGIauthorizes the certificate holder to teach the ground school or aeronautical portion of:
    1. all pilot certificate courses; i.e all courses  listed for BGI above, plus commercial pilot and airline transport pilot course;
    2. flight instructor single and multi engine course;
    3. other specialized or custom pilot training courses, like CFI refresher course, FAA Wings Program course, etc.
  3. Instrument – Instrument Ground Instructor or IGIauthorizes the certificate holder to teach the ground school or aeronautical knowledge portion of an instrument rating course, flight instructor instrument airplane rating course, etc.

Other Privileges

A Ground Instructor can also

  1. teach certain other courses’ ground or aeronautical knowledge portions, like Flight Review, Instrument Proficiency, Add-on category or class ratings, aviation safety seminars (to be able to get the credits towards the Wings Program).
  2. be the chief ground instructor of a FAR part 141 approved course appropriate to the ground instructor certificate and rating(s) held.
  3. provide logbook endorsements to recommend an applicant for a FAA pilot and/or instructor knowledge test.
  4. prepare, administer, and evaluate a pre-solo written exam.

Procedure to obtain Ground Instructor Certificate

  1. Pass the FAA Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) written exam.
  2. Pass the appropriate (BGI, AGI, IGI) knowledge exam.
  3. Setup an appointment with the local FSDO, hand the inspector over the results of the above two exams, and in exchange receive your Ground Instructor certificate.

Additional Information and Recommendations

  1. If you are not a pilot certificate holder, and planning to get your Ground Instructor certificate, we suggest that you receive proper training with CFI Academy (or another instructor or school); even though there is no requirement to do so.
  2. The reason for # 1 above is: teaching aviation ground school or aeronautical knowledge at any level demands thorough understanding of the subject matter, and lives depend on it.
  3. You will have a better chance at convincing a prospective employer to hire you as a ground instructor if you can show the proper documented training records, Especially if you do not have any other aviation instructor background.
  4. If you are coming out of the military, and you have aviation instructor background in the military (pilot, navigator, engineer, etc), then this is something that can get you hired in the civil aviation training industry immediately. However, training recommended in # 1 should still be considered.
  5. Review the Limitations of the Ground Instructor in the FARs (there is no expiration of the certificate, but there are rules about currency etc).
  • I'm an AGI and I know that there is a currency requirement for AGI – But how do I log or certify that I am current as AGI? Is there a website where I report my instruction hours or a logbook requirement?

    • CFI

      Nope. You have to keep track of your teaching time yourself. You can do so at the end of your pilot logbook, or just on any paper. You self inspect and supervise yourself. There is no other way available.

  • kelly

    I've been an airline pilot for almost 20 years for a major airline. I want to give my daughter all her ground instruction to save money. Forgive my arrogance, but no one could teach her better than someone who flies for a living and has proficiency checks and FAA line checks regularly versus someone that may teach middle school and takes a written test????? Am I reading correctly that I can't use my AGI certificate to sign an applicant off for a written test with 15,000 hours and an intense 3 day checkride every 9 months. I'm OK to carry 150 people, but I can't teach aerodynamics and airspace to a future private pilot???

    • CFI

      Hi Kelly. First things first; with an AGI certificate you may teach ground school (aeronautical knowledge) portion of ALL pilot certificates and ratings. So yes you are reading this incorrectly that you can't teach your daughter or sign her off for an FAA written exam. You are also incorrect about other things you mentioned in your post. The only thing I see you have been correct about here is your arrogance.
      The reason you mentioned, or your motivation to teach your daughter yourself, i.e. to save money, is incorrect. No one could teach your daughter better than you is incorrect. Airline pilots fly for living, and the flight instructors don't, is incorrect. Mocking flight instructors as "teaching middle school and taking written exams" is incorrect. Assuming your teaching skills are better than a professional teacher (CFIs) simply because of your company/FAA mandated 9 monthly standardization/proficiency checks, is incorrect as well. And your ability to carry 150 people and not authorized to teach future pilots is incorrect too.
      Should you teach future pilots, I would say please do not! Even though FAA allows you to. And for starters, grab a copy of Aviation Instructors Handbook and start working on your professionalism, and correct pilot/instructor attitude.

      • just took my AGI yesturday. one more thing for the airline pilot with the daughter. an AGI may NOT sign off an Instrument student for the IFR written exam or endorse for any flight checkride. While you CAN sign your daughter off for her initial written FAA private pilot knowledge test, but you would need an IGI certificate to sign her off for her Instrument written

        • CFI

          Thanks for the comment Mike. And congratulations on getting your AGI done, and happy that your daughter has interest in aviation as we all do. You are right about AGI privileges and limitations. IGI should be the next goal for you, obviously. :-). By Christmas?
          BTW, a few days ago, FAA increased the number of hours an instrument student can log in a AATD towards the 40 hours instrument time required. And as an IGI you can teach all of those 20 hours as well. Only 15 hours out of the 40 have to be with a CFII.

  • Larry

    Hi my name is Larry i have my AGI and IGI but no flight time i do however hope to some day
    become a C F I, my goal is to teach flight but, it's really been expensive for me trying to become a pilot. I use to train back in the early 90's and i have 20 hour but i had to stop training at the time . so in the mean time i volunteered my time to to a local aviation college where i stared a flight club to support the student pilots,i know most people don't respect A G I with out flight time but i keep up as much as i can, i do believe i can sign a student off for a fight review or and the written exam


    • CFI

      Hi Larry. We like your spirit, and your dedication! Keep it up! And I know a lot of people like yourself, who, with a continuous focus and small steps, did in fact achieved their goal of becoming a flight instructor. Yes, it is not an easy target to achieve, especially with the costs involved, but it is not impossible as well.
      I personally made my money outside of aviation and then paid for my training. And this is in the early 90s like yourself.
      Also, try and team up with a busy flight instructor locally. There is nothing like a great flight and a great ground instructor team! Both benefit tremendously, and the student gets the best of both the worlds. This is a proven and not very well known method.

  • Jerry

    Hi. I don't understand your suggestion No. 1 under the "Additional information and recommendations " column. I took it as you suggesting that someone who is seeking to obtain their ground instructor certificate/s and is not a rated pilot attend a CFI academy or similar training program? Similar training being a traditional ground school, one on one with an instructor, online studies? etc. Am I correct?

    Also I'm confused as to how one (Not being a pilot certificate holder) could obtain a Ground instructor certificate "in conjunction with a CFI certificate" ? To be a CFI in the first place you would need to have a Commercial or ATP pilot certificate.

    • CFI

      Hi Larry. Formal training is recommended simply so one has a complete and thorough knowledge and understanding of ALL the subject matter that he/she will be qualified to teach others. For example – weather, powerplant, navigation etc. If one already has a pilot certificate, then in most cases this knowledge is already existing, but for someone with no pilot certificate, all these subject areas may be completely new.
      And yes you are right about CFI pre-requisite of commercial or ATP. It was a typo at my end and it has been corrected. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂

  • dmerena

    I am a major airline jumbo jet captain and yes this Kelly needs to work on his professionalism and correct pilot/ instructor attotude. To those of you not so fortunate or unfortunate , I apologize on behalf of those airline pilots who aren`t this arrogant and consider you all professionals.

    Thanks, Delta


    My name is Larry and I wrote this web site some time ago, telling about my experience as a ground instructor who volunteers my time a local aviation college in New York City. Though my experience with the students is quite enjoyable, trying to break in to this field is becoming more and more unbearable. The school that I been volunteering is not to willing to hire a ground instructor unless these possess a master degree, thought most of the CFI there has a bachelor’s degree. Most of the students I see at the school complain that many instructors don’t teach properly and skip lot of over important steps, which I do try to cover thoroughly. However, my stress is not so much the college as it is this entire aviation industry and believes me I would like to say this F@#K industry, but I keep this respectful.

    I tried to apply for a Master’s Degree at Embry Riddle, but was rejected to do a not so high cumulative average in my undergrad years in college even though that was 20 years ago, when I graduated and have made some achievements in my life. If I could afford the money I would have been CFI years ago. I even tried for the AOPA fun ‘n the sun Scholarship which I didn’t make. I will soon begin a job at John F. Kennedy Airport as a Ramp agent because that all aviation seems to be offering me. So, a 49-year-old college grad with an AGI/IGI handling bags? Be nice to those baggage guys handing your luggage. One last thing is I join the Civil Air Patrol to use my skill, but with time consume and depression setting in I finding it hard to be motivate any more I hope there are some kind word out there because man I just want to quit but then were will I be? Do what you love, I all way here, but do what you love and suffer? No some thing is wrong I just don’t know what.


    This is Larry

    I want to apologies too all out there in the aviation community for my ranting and raving I like to say that after 15 years of struggle to finance my flight training including becoming a ground instructor seem to be afford less I wont say anymore I decide the signs from the universe say this field is not for me, and as painful as it is I must begin to tear down the websites and books it took me years to developed. Good luck to the rest of you out there may god be with you.

  • Christian

    I hold a current CFI certificate. Do I still need to take the FOI written exam, in addition to the appropriate GI exam, to obtain the Ground Instructor Certificate?

  • CFI

    Hi Christian,

    Sorry about the late response; no there is no need to take the FOI again. Just the appropriate GI exam.


    This is Larry

    My experience tell me that it nice to have an AGI/IGI especially if your can work with a small flight school or C A P, otherwise it’s best to get your private and of course you C F I. It’s may be costly that being the reason why I got my AGI/IGI but if I want to stay in this business in the long run I have to get my CFI.

    • CFI

      I agree with you Larry. Another good thing about AGI – we learn ourselves every time we teach others. So, it is not a bad idea for a wanna-be CFI to start off as an AGI during his/her Private-Commercial training (I suggest after IR for most), teach others and be a good teacher already even before the CFI checkride. Passing CFI would be a breeze in this case.

  • Al Ossorio

    I have multiple category’s on my CFI’ certificate and want to get my AGI for the sol purpos to complete a Gold Seal instructor on my CFI next renewal.

    Do I have to take the FOI again since I have done that on the CFI?

    If not then I assume I just have to take the AGI written?

    • CFI

      No need for another FOI. Just the AGI and then present your AGI result and CFI certificate to the FAA for the issuance of a temporary Ground Instructor certificate. Good luck with your gold seal.

  • Ken Andrews

    Hello my name is Ken, I have been a flight instructor for 10 years. I am currently a CFII. I have signed off aprox 16 students with 100% pass rate. I would like to look into my gold seal. I need to do the written exam for instrument ground instructor to be eligable. I seem to run into dead ends on where to order test prep for this it all seems to be for instrument pilot or advanced ground instructors any ideas.

  • CFI

    Hi Ken. The question bank for the instrument ground instructor exam is the same as for Instrument Pilot, or the regular IR. If you remember, it was the same for the instrument instructor (CFII) as well.

    Just use the IR question bank published by your favorite publisher – Gleim, ASA or Jeppesen.

    Good Luck.

  • John Williams

    I understand these three procedures to obtain a Ground Instructor (GI) certificate:

    1. Pass the FAA Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) written exam.

    2. Pass the appropriate (BGI, AGI, IGI) knowledge exam.

    3. Setup an appointment with the local FSDO, hand the inspector over the results of the above two exams, and in exchange receive your Ground Instructor certificate.

    My question is, to maintain these GI privileges one needs to:

    To be eligible to give instruction, though, the holder must have either served as an instructor for at least three out of the preceding twelve months or have received from a ground or flight instructor an endorsement certifying the holder’s proficiency in the subject matter which the certificate authorizes teaching.

    I understand this is an annual requirement, however it implies it is also an “initial” requirement too. Since a new GI obviously could not have instructed previously, therefore is he/she required to obtain…”To be eligible to give instruction, though, the holder must have either…r have received from a ground or flight instructor an endorsement certifying the holder’s proficiency in the subject matter which the certificate authorizes teaching.?

    So, to start instructing as a new GI, does this GI need an endorsement?

    Thank you

    • CFI

      Your passing of the 2 written exams is a demonstration of your knowledge, so no additional endorsement is required for the initial issue. A very good question indeed.

      • John Williams

        I understand the two exams will get you the certificate. The question is, are you authorized and eligible to instruct without an endorsement certifying the holder’s proficiency in the subject matter which the certificate authorizes teaching?

        • CFI

          I understand your question John. We are referring to 61.217, and the sub-part (c) – Completion of an approved flight instructor refresher course and receipt of a graduation certificate for that course; – I agree that it does not necessarily say \”this requirement is not required for newly certified ground instructor\” or something like this; however, I am sure the legal interpretation would be – issuance of the certificate should equal \”approved refresher course\”. However, I\’d still like to seek a legal interpretation to this directly from the FAA. Great question, and I should have an answer after New Years. Happy New Year, and I will definitely review the link to the site that you posted. If relevant, it will appear here as well. Thanks.

  • Trevor

    I passed my FOI recently and am currently working on my AGI. 61.217 says that one of the ways to stay current as an AGI is to be employed as a ground instructor in the past 12 months. However, I am a student at UC Berkeley and will probably only be using my AGI to teach a course pro-bono to other undergraduates. Will the FAA be OK with that instead of “employment”?

    If so, here is another question: it is possible that I may not be signing anyone off to take their written in a given 12 months, as most of the students take the course for units or because they simply want to be exposed to the material. Without issuing students endorsements to take the written, how would I prove that I am remaining active as an AGI? Or do they even require proof?

    • Trevor

      Actually, rereading 61.217, I see it says “employment or activity,” so that answers the first part of my question.

      Still confused about the second part.

    • CFI

      You did answer the first part of your question correctly. Employment is not necessary, it is in fact the actual act of teaching someone. As far as the record keeping goes, just maintain a simple record for each student you teach (excel sheet, paper log etc) with date, time spent, subject area taught. There is no \”formal\” requirement as far as record keeping goes, as most students train in a more traditional flight school environment. But, if you are exercising the privileges of your AGI, and teaching in a more casual environment, I suggest that you maintain the teaching record in the above mentioned manner. Wish you all the best, teach well, and have a happy new year.

  • Terry

    During my last application for CFI renewal the Inspector suggested that I apply for the Gold Seal since I have had 60 endorsements with 90% first-time success rate. He then discovered that I don’t hold either AGI or IGI, and suggested I go take one of those tests, get the certificate and apply for Gold Seal. As I review the FI test questions I find that I have to answer questions about rotorcraft, gliders, LTA, etc. Question is, does the IGI test have questions not related to airplanes? The reason I ask is that I’m very busy giving flight instruction and want to get one of these certificates as quickly and easily as possible, given that I’m doing it primarily for the Gold Seal. Obviously it is a great review no matter which test I take, but if I have to spend the time learning about aircraft that I’m not instructing, would the IGI be a bit more straightforward for an airplane only CFI?

  • CFI

    First off, congratulations Terry! 90% pass rate on 60 endorsements is awesome! Keep it up. To answer your question, if I were you, I\’d probably go with IGI as well. IGIs are authorized to teach instruments to airplane and helicopter instrument rating applicants, but the IR procedures are exactly the same anyways. With AGI, one is authorized to teach helicopters, gliders etc as well, and yes, there are a few (not very many) category specific questions. So, yes, go for IGI.

  • CaptVikki

    I lost my 3rd class medical, can I be a ground instructor?

    • Hi. There is no medical certification required to be a ground instructor. As a matter of fact, if your CFI certificate is current, you can still teach without a medical as long as you are not the PIC – for example, giving someone a flight review, or teaching a qualified pilot for commercial pilot training.